Ever since I tasted these praline almonds, made by my colleague and friend David Lebovitz once when he was visiting, I’ve loved them.  They’re a perfect, and perfectly surprising, amuse-bouche, or appetizer.   I make them often, we make them in classes, guests eat them like they were candy.  Which they sort of are, with a salty, peppery touch.

I adapt the flavors depending on when and to whom I will be serving these.  If guests can handle heat, they get more pepper (my preference); if they love salt, I’ll use a bit more. If they really can’t handle cinnamon, like many French whose palates aren’t coded with cinnamon love, I use less.  You can do the same.

Once these are made and cooled, they’ll stick together because the caramel acts like glue. So, just break them apart before serving with champagne or your favorite sparkling wine, of course!  And to help you get these made, watch the video. You’ll see the magic of sand turning to sugar right before your eyes!  And if you have many leftover (a bit unlikely but you never know), they freeze perfectly.

SPICY PRALINE ALMONDS

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SPICY PRALINE ALMONDS
SPICY PRALINE ALMONDS
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup water 80ml
  • 1 cup sugar 200g
  • 2 cups raw almonds 270g
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fleur de sel
  • 1/2 teaspoon Piment d’Espelette
  • Generous 1/8th teaspoon ground cinnamon
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup water 80ml
  • 1 cup sugar 200g
  • 2 cups raw almonds 270g
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fleur de sel
  • 1/2 teaspoon Piment d’Espelette
  • Generous 1/8th teaspoon ground cinnamon
SPICY PRALINE ALMONDS
Instructions
  1. Mix the water, sugar and nuts in a large, heavy-duty skillet. Put the pan over medium-to-high heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sugar dissolves and the liquid boils.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking and stirring until the liquid crystallizes and becomes sandy, which will take about 12 minutes. Soon after the “sand” has appeared, the sugar will begin to liquefy and caramelize. As you cook the nuts, remove the pan from the heat from time to time, to prevent the caramel from burning so that the nuts can cook. The nuts will begin to pop and you’ll begin to smell their toasty aroma, after about 12 minutes. Most, but not all, of the sugar will be melted.
  3. At this point, remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle the nuts with the spices, stir so they are mixed, and tip them onto a baking sheet to cool. When the nuts are cool, break up any that are stuck together. Serve when these are completely cool.
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4 Responses to Sweet Praline Almonds

  1. I loved making these in one of your classes. It is a perfect appetizer.

  2. Sue Girard says:

    so what the heck is piment d’esplette? 😉 is that smoked Paprika? thanks!

    • Susan says:

      Hi Sue,

      I’m so sorry! Piment d’Espelette is a very special pepper grown in the Basque Country with a round, peppery flavor and mild bite. I suggest using hot paprika in its place! Thanks for asking!

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